A simple fact: Andrew Breitbart has been incredibly effective.
With material that legal investigations, reviews by traditional journalism institutions, and other inspections have shown to be “severely edited” material utterly misrepresenting actual events, Breitbart provided the ammunition that enabled the takedown of an organization (ACORN) that had helped — quite literally — 100,000s of people (if not more) but had the sinful reality that it had helped educate lower-income Americans about their rights and mobilize them to vote. Sadly, many politicians who had benefited from ACORN’s mobilization efforts and/or had constituents whose lives had been improved due to ACORN activity jumped on the bandwagon to attack ACORN based on Breitbart’s “severely edited” videos — and the damage, defunding, was done before the evidence exonerating ACORN was in. So much for innocent until proven guilty part …
Breitbart’s selective leaking from the Journolist background discussion led to a resignation of a Washngton Post employee — for words written well prior to his employment — and dismantling of this background discussion group that, according to some participants, had helped foster more accurate and truthful reporting with sharing of perspectives and source material and perspectives among a range of journalists who, evidently, used strong language as if their ‘background’ discussions truly were private.
And, Breitbart’s posting of another “severely edited” video sparked what are now well know events: the forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod from the Department of Agriculture due to the selective video Breitbart posted with the utterly false implication that she was a racist and acting as a racist in her government duties. The full video, of course, showed exactly the opposite. First, the events discussed were from decades before her federal service and the story was one of going past racism, of how the daughter of a man killed in a hate crime could move past her (legitimate reasons for) anger and actually be an epitome of post-racial problem solving. What is sad is that Breitbart had any credibility to have had any influence on anyone after the sad record of his “journalism”. One of the few good things of Sherrod-gate? “The” media might begin to dismiss him and his Faux-News echo chamber for the decievers that they are. As commented in the Baltimore Sun today,
That Mr. Breitbart associated his hatchet job on Shirley Sherrod with “the imperfect nature of journalism” suggests that he sees himself as a journalist. He’s not. The journalist has to prize above all else the truth, and presenting the truth in the public’s interest. Twisting the truth, editing video to make black look like white and up look like down — that’s the stuff of hocus-pocus and snake oil; it’s not the work of the journalist.
Well, when it comes to the echo chamber of deceptive truthiness and outright deceit in the arena of climate change, sadly there is a pantheon of Breitbarts to chose from who are actively disseminating confusing material and outright falsehoods with gullible (or collaborating) journalists always ready to echo their falsehoods and give them voice in “faux and balanced” Global Warming reporting.
If, however, forced to narrow down in this pantheon of anti-science syndrome sufferers, there seems to be one name that sinks to the bottom: Marc Morano. Consider his background:
- Morano is a former journalist with Cybercast News Service (CNS), which is owned by the conservative Media Research Center. CNS and Morano were the first source in May 2004 of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claims against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election and in January 2006 of similar smears against Vietnam war veteran John Murtha.
- Morano was the communications director for the Republicans on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Morano, working for Senator James Inhofe, used this position to push out a tremendous amount of deceitful climate denial material to an ever-growing network of fellow anti–science syndrome sufferers.
- Morano was “previously known as Rush Limbaugh’s ‘Man in Washington’ a period which, if the timing is right, included this incident:
In 1996, Morano secretly filmed an AIDS fund-raiser on behalf of the Family Research Council, then wrote an article claiming that the fund-raiser featured “lewd dancing, nudity, illicit sex and evidence of illegal drugs,” according to a May 14, 1996, Associated Press article. The Washington Times reported on May 15, 1996, that it was unable to substantiate some of Morano’s claims, and then-Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-WI), a sponsor of the fund-raiser, blasted Morano’s reporting in a statement on the floor of the House. Gunderson noted that Morano “never once tried to interview me or any of the event’s sponsors. Nor did he talk to any of the security personnel, nor the responsible authorities at the Department of Commerce [where the event was held]. Throughout his entire story, not one source is ever identified or quoted. … [H]ate and prejudice are the motives by which Mr. Morano and Mr. [Armstrong] Williams [who wrote a column based on Morano’s report] sought to totally misrepresent the fund-raising events and their purpose.”
- Etc …
Morano has been caught in deception after misrepresentation after factual error after falsehood after cyber-bullying (and) after … yet, he still manages to rate quotations in newspapers. And, “journalists” open his emails. He frequently gets quoted. And, he gets profiles in major magazines and newspapers of record. He is treated with respectability that, well, his record simply doesn’t merit. Morano has been a key player in a dis- and mis-information campaign that has had far too much success in confusing the American public about the state of climate science, of the threats before us (the U.S.) and the opportunities that we have if we forthrightly confront the challenge. Marc Morano represents the Andrew Breitbart of the anti-science syndrome world … and he merits the same attention from journalistic institutions as Breitbart deserves. Let’s see if he gets it.
Note, some might suggest that this post has the situation reversed. As per Climate Brad‘s question.
Is Morano the Breitbart of climate or Breitbart the Morano of racism?